Cheating facts during outdoor sports events have been hot topics of the sports press lately: “Runner caught cheating in Fort Lauderdale race” or “Ultra-marathon racer caught cheating at WA event“. Desire to shine, to gain notoriety, lure of profit, human stupidity, cheating is a very unfortunate action that can taint the reputation of an event and a sport.
It can take several forms: taking drugs, use of non-regulatory materials, traffic of chronometry chips … We want to focus today on cases of “cutting” of the course (taking shortcuts or non-regulatory means of transport such a bike or metro during a marathon etc.).
Long distances, lack of human resources, topography and environment of the course make the monitoring of the race quite difficult.
How GPS tracking can help to control the respect of race route by contestants ?
Let’s take a recent example based on real facts during an equestrian endurance race in Abu Dhabi, covered by Tech4Race. The program was very simple: 3 loops of 20, 25 and 36 km which means a race of 243km to achieve 3 days in a row by twenty riders – in the desert!
The cheating case occurred on the 3rd day of the race on the 3rd loop. A judge had a doubt about the course of a rider. He asked Tech4Race to confirm or quash his presentiment. Thanks to our race monitoring interface, we can analyze the participant’s GPS track created from the points reported by the tracker. The cheat was confirmed, the participant was disqualified by the jury.
This is the interest of a GPS solution like Tech4Race. The current means of chronometry or certain tracking applications only deliver an intermediate time or an estimation of future times of passage. GPS watches can deliver information on how many kilometers the participant actually traveled at the end of the race – this is how a half-marathoner betrayed herself. But none of these tools can control in real time the effective track of a participant.
Based on theses observations, we have enriched our live monitoring service with a supervision tool. Organizers have an overview of the race, as well as an individual view of the progression of each participant. They can control the respect of the track (and contribute to the sporting ethics of their event), detect a suspicious stop (is the participant injured?) or analyze the average speed of an athlete on a stretch of the course (use of a bike in running? horse pushed at too high a pace during a horse endurance race?).
You have some ideas to improve the supervision of the race? Let’s talk about it 🙂